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Dr. Crit Caton, superintendent of the Artesia Public Schools, announced the hiring of Larry Combs as principal of Zia Intermediate School at the APS Board of Education’s most recent meeting.

Combs replaces Jim Moor, whose resignation was accepted at last month’s meeting.

Several other employment actions were reported by Caton, including the retirements of Celina Aquirre, cook manager, APS Cafeteria Department, and Nora Leyva, custodian, Artesia High School, and the resignations of Jamie Childress, special education assistant, Central Elementary; Donna Fanning, fifth-grade teacher, Yeso Elementary; Melanie Herron, math teacher, Park Junior High; Christi Prewett, history/P.E. teacher, Park Junior High; and Kayla Rauch, math teacher, Park Junior High.

Caton also announced the employment of Erin Allen, science teacher, Park Junior High; Selma Alvarez, special education Dlevel educational assistant, Yeso; Jesus Cano, maintenance assistant groundskeeper/carpenter, APS Maintenance Department; Casey Grandell, science teacher and coach, Park Junior High; Kirsten Mauritsen, library assistant, Zia Intermediate; Joan Mondragon, special education inclusion math teacher, Artesia High School; and Lauryn Waits, speech language pathologist, Special Education Department.

At last month’s board meeting, the retirement of Silvia Haldeman, library assistant, Artesia High School, was announced, along with the resignation of Ana Cerda, custodian at Park Junior High, and the employment of Loretta Lawson, English teacher, Park Junior High; Billy Mondragon, social studies teacher and coach, Zia Intermediate; Alise Mullen, school nurse for the district; Anita Palomin, activity bus driver for the district; and Anthony Trevino, maintenance assistant and plumber in the maintenance department.

In other business Monday, the board recognized the 2015-16 Artesia High School rodeo team for placing second in the state and qualifying three – Maddy Deerman, Kaitlyn Harwell and Blaise Miligan – to compete in the national finals in July.

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Services John Ross Null and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Federal Programs Danny Parker reported to the board the results of the 2015-16 APS Quality of Education Surveys and sought the board’s approval to continue the district’s Memorandum of Understanding with Artesia Head Start, which was approved.

Null also announced the implementation of the district’s new mobile apps, which can be downloaded from any iPhone or Android device for parents within the district to receive notifications of lockdowns, delayed school starts, or just events happening in the schools.

“This is a much better way to get the word out quickly and efficiently, and we are real pleased to offer this,” Null said.

The public can download the app by searching Artesia Public Schools in the app store.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps sought the board’s approval to accept the CES proposal for the purchase of desktop and laptop computers for Penasco School, Zia Intermediate and Park Junior High, as well as for the technology department, in the amount of $181,158. The board granted their approval.

Phipps then sought approval to accept the bid for construction material testing and special inspection services for the new APS Administration Building totaling $86,747.02. Approval to accept the construction proposal for the new building in the amount of $12,596,182.50 was approved at last month’s meeting, and construction began Monday.

Phipps further motioned to accept the NJPA proposal for the purchase of Acuos boards for various classrooms in the district in the amount of $93,316.05; two CES proposals for work to be completed in the main gym at Park Junior High in the amount of $49,784.48; and the pouring and completion of an outdoor basketball/volleyball court at Park Junior High in the amount of $25,600, all of which were approved by the board.

Of the Park gym renovation, Phipps stated, “This work will bring the gym floor to a full-size court and move the team seating to the east side of the court.”

In his construction update, Caton reported to the board that construction has begun on the administration building and the counselor suites have been completed at Artesia High School. Upon completion of the main office area and security vestibule, all schools in the district’s security vestibules will be operational.